Some downtown businesses say they’re being told their furniture could be taken down if they don’t comply with the city’s outdoor ordinance.
After years of local businesses helping out with revitalization efforts downtown, many shops are trying to make sure outdoor seating space is possible.
Owners here at the coffee shop say in the span of 15 months, they’ve tried to get approval from the city to improve their outdoor seating. After their ideas were denied three times, they wish to work on a less restricted ordinance soon.
For Highlander Public House owner Erik Scott, the best part about the warm months is having his patio open for business.
“It’s definitely a nice kick to our business to be able to seat those people and you know, people just enjoy hanging out on the patio.” Scott said.
Down the road at Odd Duck Coffee they feel like the city’s outdoor ordinance is a bit strict, putting a damper on the business’ plans,
“It’s going to hurt things rather than make it better,” owner Ted Klopf said. “If you force businesses that provide outdoor seating- if you force them to put a fence up, you’re not going to be in compliance with the ADA requirements and the aesthetics of it is not going to look right.”
The ordinance states a fence is required in order to identify an outdoor dining area. Klopf reviewed the city ordinance, with ideas to put an aluminum overhang, elevated planters to divide seating instead. All of which were denied.
“You’re going to force them to make an impassible sidewalk and that’s not what we want,” Klopf said. “We want downtown to thrive, we want it to improve but we got to start thinking about tomorrow.”
Both Klopf and Scott hope there is a compromise so businesses and the city are on the same page to continue improvements in revitalizing downtown Wichita Falls.
“We’re all one team down here,” Scott said. “Trying to get downtown to grow and be a place to hang out and outdoor seating will do that.”
To view the full outdoor seating ordinance, click here.